Thursday, October 23, 2014

Coffin Hop: Audiobooks


Books can transport us through time and worlds. They can be used to relax, educate, entertain, and so much more. Unfortunately finding the time to curl up with a good book is difficult with the demands of day to day life. Audiobooks are a great way to enjoy a good book while still being able to accomplish all of life's demands and expectations.

There's laundry, meals to prepare, a house to clean. Should you skip all of that to read?  Or, can you exercise some multi-tasking?  Audiobooks solve the problem.

In addition to that, listening to an audiobook can whisk away the humdrum routine of daily tasks. Excitement, mystery, intrigue, romance, and so much more can transform a regular boring activity into something that is enjoyable and refreshing.

How about a two-hour commute to work in the morning, if the traffic is not too bad, and a two-hour drive home after a long day? Exhaustion, stress, frustration, and boredom may be present, and then there's no time to unwind before the duties at home demand attention. Listening to a book is a great way to unwind, relax, and keep drivers alert when on the road. They are also great entertainment tools when on a long drive with the family. Audiobooks encourage children to use their mind and imagination, as well as help pass time on that trip to Grandma and Grandpa's.

Not only are audiobooks an excellent way to pass the time and entertain,  they also are a great way to educate and help sharpen up certain skill sets. Using educational tracks to learn or remember foreign languages, as well as other options, is a wonderful way to kill two birds with one stone. Studying can take place while working, cleaning, driving or numerous other activities.

My Benton: A Zombie Novel, Volume One is now an audiobook narrated by Angie Hickman. You can listen to the entire audio book for free with an Audible trial.  The trial includes two free audiobooks; you can choose from 150,000 titles, and after 30 days Audible is $14.95 a month.  You can cancel at any time!  Listen to the sample below:




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To enter to win a $5 Amazon gift card, leave a comment below regarding this audiobooks post.  The winner of the gift card will be announced at this blog on November 1.  (The prize will be emailed to the winner.)


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Coffin Hop, the annual horror author blog tour, runs from October 24 to October 31.  Visit some more blogs participating in the tour!








Sunday, October 19, 2014

Meet My Character: Jennifer Benton

October is a month of many blog hops for Precious Monsters.  The first one is the Meet My Character Blog Hop.



I was tagged for this hop by SB James.  SB James, formerly of the (in)famous Jersey Shore and now a resident of Florida, has been writing since she was in seventh grade. She is currently working on the five (and a half) book Steampunk series The Inventor's Son. She also dabbles in graphic design and artwork when she has the time, mostly in between chapters.  SB James's main character is Ethan Phillip Stanwood, and you can read about him and learn more about The inventor's Son HERE.

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And now it's time for Jolie's character:

1. What is the name of your character? Is she fictional or a historic person?

Jennifer Benton is my character, and she is a fictional person in my Benton zombie series.

2. When and where is the story set?

The story begins in the fictitious Waterbank, Illinois.  Jennifer, along with the people she meets, move out of Waterbank and head to Texas.

3. What should we know about her?

Jennifer Benton is a 23-year-old woman who finds herself in the start of the zombie apocalypse.  She's trapped inside her home, and she has to decide what to do next.  She knows her supplies won't last forever.  Jennifer tries to be smart about her decisions, but she is human.  She is not a perfect person.  Therefore, she makes mistakes along the way.

4. What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?

Is Jennifer's main conflict zombies, or humans?  Zombies are easy to figure out.  If they come after you, you kill them.  However, human beings are not so easy to figure out.  As they say, "Fight the dead. Fear the living."

5. What is the personal goal of the character?

Jennifer's goal is survival.  It's the goal of every human being in the zombie apocalypse.  In addition, she's fallen in love with a character by the name of Mark.  So her goal is enhanced, because not only does she want to survive, but she wants to survive with him.

6. What is the title of the novel, and where can we find out more?

Jennifer Benton is found in Benton: A Zombie Novel, Volume One and Benton: A Zombie Novel, Volume Two.  Also, narrator Angie Hickman has brought her to life in the audio book of Benton #1.   You can listen to the entire audio book for free with an Audible trial.  The trial includes two free audiobooks; you can choose from 150,000 titles, and after 30 days Audible is $14.95 a month.  You can cancel at anytime!  Listen to the sample below:



7. When was the book published?

The first Benton book was published in May of 2014.

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Next up is author William D. Richards.  He is the author of Aggadeh Chronicles Book 1: Nobody. Years of dreaming about writing a book finally became a reality for William D. Richards when he found himself out of work and unable to find employment in an industry that downsized itself right out of existence. With a number of ideas for stories to write, he jokes it was a flip of the coin that chose which to start with. But the truth was, it was a passage of music that inspired his decision to begin with his fantasy series, Aggadeh Chronicles. Visit his blog at: http://blog.williamdrichards.com








Monday, September 29, 2014

Audiobook Free Trial: Listen to Benton: A Zombie Novel, Volume One



Benton: A Zombie Novel, Volume One is now in a third form!  It's out in eBook, print and now you can get the audiobook in a free trial!  Benton: A Zombie Novel, Volume One, narrated by the wonderful and talented Angie Hickman, is available on Amazon, iTunes and Audible.

You can listen to the Benton audiobook in a free trial with Audible.  The trial includes two free audiobooks; you can choose from 150,000 titles, and after 30 days Audible is $14.95 a month.  You can cancel at anytime!

* * * 

Zombies have killed everyone in the Benton household - all except 20-something Jennifer. She's escaped her bedroom, but what now? Waterbank, Illinois, is overrun. Where can she go?

A chance encounter with seven other young survivors points her toward Texas. A charismatic, handsome young man named Mark says he can lead them all to his family's ranch. He's sure they'll be safe there. Jennifer wants to trust him, with her life and possibly her heart.

There's no place else to go, there's no way to escape the zombies but through, and there's no telling if Jennifer and Mark will live long enough to act on the emotion building between them.

Listen to a sample of Benton!




Join Audible and listen to the rest of Benton for free!




Thursday, September 18, 2014

Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

The time has come for me to run another fun contest! This time you can win a $25 Amazon Gift Card to spend on books or whatever you'd like at Amazon!

The contest begins tonight at 8:30 p.m. and ends September 30, 2014 at 11:59 p.m.!

I'll announce the winner right here at this blog!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Saturday, August 16, 2014

3 Ways to Find Your Writing Muse

c/o: Parzi

Is fiction writing something you'd like to do, but you're having trouble getting your words out and onto that computer screen? Try these three ways to find your muse.

1. Read

Most writers will tell you that reading is a major part of their lives. If you haven't read much in your life, but you want to write fiction, it's never too late to read more. If you want to write science fiction, for example, it's important that you read science fiction. However, don't limit your reading just to your genre. Read widely and read often to find your muse and to become the best writer you can be.

2. Write Regularly

In order to find your muse and get your thoughts out regularly, you need to make writing a practice. That's hard to do if you don't write every day, or at least every other day. The way I do it is by word count. You may want to try it. Choose a word count that will work comfortably for you on a daily basis, but don't bite off more than you can chew. Shoot for something manageable like 300 to 400 words a day, to start. You can always raise the word count, or not. It's perfectly okay to stick to a small daily word count. Even if you were to write only 100 words a day, you'd have a novella of 36,500 words by the end of one year.

3. Join a Writers' Group

Writing is often a solo experience, and that can get lonely. Writers' groups not only give you the opportunity to communicate with other writers, but they also offer people who are willing to critique your work, and, they are excellent learning tools. Writers' groups can take place online, and they can happen in person. Each type has its place. You simply need to decide what works best for you.

I've found the Writers' Cafe at Kboards to be an invaluable resource.  I've also joined smaller groups for indie authors.  However, let me caution you.  There are MANY authors in these groups who are either whiners, complainers, or both.  If you find you're spending lots of time arguing with authors or enduring incessant whining, lurk OR leave.  (At a public board like Kboards, for example, you can lurk and still get any important information you'll need.)  REMEMBER: Busy authors can't afford to waste time.

c/o Cynthia Armistead


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Benton: A Zombie Novel, Volume Two is here!

Jennifer Benton’s family died in the first wave of zombie attacks. She found friends in a small group of survivors. And she’s fallen in love with Mark, the charismatic young man leading them to safety.

But some of her new friends die, and Jennifer has a beautiful blonde rival. Jennifer thinks jealousy will bring Mark back.

To her surprise, the handsome young man she flirts with won’t be used. He wants her for himself. Now the fragile safety Jennifer’s found is turning inside out—and it’s her own fault.

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Buy Benton: A Zombie Novel, Volume Two at AMAZON




Sunday, August 10, 2014

Top Celebrity Death Pool Sites



c/o Rogers & Cowan talent agents


Celebrity death pools are a popular form of entertainment in the 21st century. Players rank the top 10 or top 20 celebrities who they predict will die within a year.  Top names over at Stiffs.com, for example, include Billy Graham, Valerie Harper, and Zsa Zsa Gabor.

As reported at Columbia News Service, Celebrity Death Pools Make a Killing, "Celebrity death pools have become extremely popular in recent years, offering its players a macabre hybrid of fantasy sports and celebrity watching. March Madness, meet Cadaver Craziness."

Celebrity death pools operate with similar rules. However, celebrities who are expected to die soon do not bring as many points as other celebrities. Also, there's the rule that celebrity death announcements must appear in major publications, and celebrities on death row are not eligible.

The Dead Pool

"The Dead Pool is an annual event to see who is the best at predicting the death of the years famous." Players select a team of 20 celebrities. The site also includes celebrity death news and videos.  The owner of The Dead Pool says some players feel bad after a celebrity dies and leave the site. "I understand why they quit. In fact, I use it as a recruiting tool. When you get your first points, maybe you'll get a thrill and then feel upset about it. Either way, you'll feel things you've never felt before."

Stiffs.com

Stiffs.com is home to The Lee Atwater Invitational Dead Pool. Players choose 10 famous people they predict might die between January 1 and December 31. The site also includes a list of celebrity deaths and a forum.

Cash4Cadavers

Players pick 20 celebrities at this celebrity death pool site. The site also includes useful links and a list of celebrity deaths. Exceptions and clarifications are listed.

The Ghoul Pool

The Ghoul Pool makes it clear that picks must be celebrities or politicians. "If Bob Hope's cousin Eldred's only "claim-to-fame" is that he's, um, Bob's cousin well then he ain't famous." The site includes other areas, such as a forum.

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Benton: A Zombie Novel, Volume Two is here!

Jennifer Benton’s family died in the first wave of zombie attacks. She found friends in a small group of survivors. And she’s fallen in love with Mark, the charismatic young man leading them to safety.

But some of her new friends die, and Jennifer has a beautiful blonde rival. Jennifer thinks jealousy will bring Mark back.

To her surprise, the handsome young man she flirts with won’t be used. He wants her for himself. Now the fragile safety Jennifer’s found is turning inside out—and it’s her own fault.

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Buy Benton: A Zombie Novel, Volume Two at AMAZON




Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Health Benefits of Gardening for this Author of Zombie Fiction

by mrkalhoon  
One of the things I notice about authors is that they're stressed all the time.  They constantly worry  about sales and reviews and money.  Some of them relieve their stress through food, pills, alcohol or cigarettes.

Me?  I don't do any of that.  I'm a natural girl, and I've found the health benefits of gardening do wonders for me as an author.

I'm a creative person, and gardening is one of the top forms of artistic expression.  When I tend to my garden, my home benefits, but so do I.

It's very difficult for me to be unhappy when I'm in my garden.  I don't grow vegetables, but when I'm surrounded by my blossoms and greenery, a sense of calm comes over me.  I'm not a follower of organized religion, but I am spiritual.

As reported in CNN's "Why gardening is good for your health," "the sensory experience of  gardening 'allows people to connect to this primal state,' says James Jiler, the founder and executive director of Urban GreenWorks. 'A lot of people [understand] that experience. They may not be able to put it into words, but they understand what's happening.'"

And we all know that stress and depression go hand in hand.  What's a great way for me to deal with any occasional bouts of depression? Gardening.

"In a study conducted in Norway, people who had been diagnosed with depression, persistent low mood, or "bipolar II disorder" spent six hours a week growing flowers and vegetables.  After three months, half of the participants had experienced a measurable improvement in their depression symptoms. What's more, their mood continued to be better three months after the gardening program ended. "

The health benefits of gardening can help you as an author, as well.  So give it a try!

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Benton: A Zombie Novel, Volume Two is coming in July! Enter my Goodreads giveaway to win a signed copy!

Jennifer Benton’s family died in the first wave of zombie attacks. She found friends in a small group of survivors. And she’s fallen in love with Mark, the charismatic young man leading them to safety.

But some of her new friends die, and Jennifer has a beautiful blonde rival. Jennifer thinks jealousy will bring Mark back.

To her surprise, the handsome young man she flirts with won’t be used. He wants her for himself. Now the fragile safety Jennifer’s found is turning inside out—and it’s her own fault.

* * *

Buy Benton: A Zombie Novel, Volume One at AMAZON